On the 18th to 19th of April The Northern Business Show is taking place at Manchester Central. Whether you’re based in the North or not, for business owners this is not an opportunity to miss. Two days of excellent keynotes from successful business minds, loads of workshops and seminars on a huge range of topics, and the chance to meet lots of lovely potential customers. Why wouldn’t you go?
But first, you need a plan. A big exhibition like this can be great for your business, but it’s also two days of work you can’t get back.
To help you out, we’ve put together this guide so you can get the most out of the show.
Before the event
You’ve booked your ticket, now you need to start thinking about what you’re going to do when you get there.
Why are you going to this event?
Events like this are your opportunity to turn off your email, put your phone on silent and take some time to think about your business. Perhaps there’s a specific topic that’s been on your mind — how to run a mind-blowing marketing campaign, for example, or how to set up your company share scheme. It’s at these events where you’re guaranteed to find someone who can help you.
Prioritise who you want to meet
The next step is sitting down with the exhibitor list and agenda. You know the type of people you want to talk to, so increase your chances of meeting them by looking for those types of businesses in the exhibitor list and making them your priority to go and see.
Get on social channels
Get engaged on social channels. #NBE18 is an active hashtag. Following it using a social listening tool like TweetDeck will give you quick updates on who is attending. You can also get a good feeling for the themes and tone for the day before hand.
Talking of themes for the day, the keynotes are the best indicator. It’s a good idea to be aware of these so you can prioritise your day.
How to build a successful digital business
Richard Hanscott, CEO, Yell.com, @richardhanscott @Yell
Wednesday: 10:30–11:00, Seminar Hall 1
If you want to know how to take a household name physical product and turn it into a successful digital business, don’t miss this talk.
The Future of Business
Carl Reader, The Startup Coach, @CarlReader
Wednesday: 11:15–11:45, Seminar Hall 1
Thursday: 11:15–11:45, Seminar Hall 1
Perhaps the idea of robots taking over has you a tad nervous. Go to Carl’s talk to hear about the wealth of opportunities that’s also coming with the future.
Hilary Devey CBE, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker and CEO, @HilaryDevey
13:00–13:45, Seminar Hall 1
Your opportunity to ask an inspiration business woman how she did it.
From Dragon’s Den to business Zen
Rachel Elnaugh, Entrepreneur, former Dragon’s Den ‘dragon’ and co-creator of SourceTV, @RachelElnaugh
Wednesday: 14:00–14:30, Seminar Hall 1
If you’re someone who struggles with work stress creeping into your personal life, Rachel Elnaugh is someone who has the secrets to avoiding those pains.
THE FORMULA — How To Quickly Add 6- or 7-Figures To Your Small Business Without Spending A Penny More
Steve Hackney, Best-Selling Author | International Speaker | Creator of THE FORMULA
Wednesday: 14:45–15:15, Seminar Hall 1
“The proven and unbreakable system to quickly grow your small business” — do you need to know more?
Keeping It Real — The Key To Business Success In 2018
Ben Kench, Author of Sales for Dummies and founder of the Business Booster, @benkench
Wednesday: 15:15–15:45, Seminar Hall 1
Running a business can seem overwhelmingly complex. In this seminar Ben Kench helps you strip it back and keep it simple.
At the event
Have a schedule and plan your route
You’ve turned up and are wearing your attractive lanyard with pride. Top Tip: remember to keep this on show at all times. People need to be able to casually glance down at it just in case they’ve immediately forgotten what you just told them.
Manchester Central is not small, make sure you’ve got a map — usually available when you walk in. Of course, before the event you’ll have listed the main exhibitors you want to visit and where all the keynotes, seminars and workshops are and at what time. But if you couldn’t mark them on a map beforehand, take a moment to do that now. It’s incredible how much time you can save when you don’t aimlessly plod around looking for a stand that ends up being right next to the one you were previously at.
Everyone will be trying to get you to come to their stand. The pre-event work will really help you prioritise who to visit but on the day it’s all too easy to be lured over by a free cuddly toy and convincing salesperson. Be strong, remember what aspect of your business you want to find inspiration for. If it’s not got anything to do with cuddly badgers, steer away! But, saying that, inspiration can not always be planned. Perhaps something that would be highly valuable for your business is at a stand just round the corner and you’ve just never noticed.
For example, at our stand (H16), we’re running 1:1 clinics with a share scheme expert. People can either book in advance by emailing us at email@example.com or pop along on the day (if we have slots free!). The 1:1 clinics are completely free and you get 30 minutes of personalised guidance on what share scheme would best suit your business and how to go about setting it up. That’s a bit more valuable than a chocolate and pen! You might not have been thinking about setting up a share scheme, but I bet you are now.
Don’t forget the seminars and workshops
The keynotes might attract the biggest names in business, but that doesn’t mean the seminars and workshops happening alongside aren’t packed full of value.
During the two day event you can find workshops like How to grow leads via multi-channel marketing, from Michael Carlin, CEO at Zymplify, and The Secret of Success in Sales, from Terry Cooper, Chairman at 4Networking.
For seminars, check out Convergence as key ingredient of eCommerce and logistics innovation from Sebastian Steinhauser, CEO & Founder at Parcelly. And of course, at 13:00 on Wednesday and 11:15 on Thursday, if you’re a business that wants to set up a company share scheme and avoid the hassle, cost and complexity that normally comes too, make sure you’re at Seminar Hall 3. Our CEO at Vestd, Ifty Nasir, will tell you everything you need to know about how to set up a company share scheme.
After that you’ll want to get started setting up your share scheme so go to stand H16 for your free 1:1 consultation with one of our share scheme experts. But just in case there’s no slots left when you turn up, you could email us now at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your time.
Don’t forget to eat
Now you’ve got your business’ share scheme sorted, go for lunch. This is not a step to be ignored. It might sound trivial but when you’re on your feet all day and your brain is busy learning and talking, hunger and tiredness can be a real killer. Don’t be that person who shouts at potential partners because all you’ve eaten are 5 free jelly beans.
Remember this is a two day event. If you’re only attending for one day then sure, go the whole hog when you’re there. But if you’re there for both days remember to pace yourself. Wear comfortable shoes, get a good night’s sleep, make sure you grab 5 minutes for yourself now and again. You’ll honestly be a better representative of your business if you’re fresh, fed and happy.
Time for a slight contradiction. Yes, having goals and schedules will really help you get most from the day. But you also need to remember to enjoy it. If you’re too blinkered into achieving those goals you might miss out on spontaneous opportunities. Take a few moments throughout the day to register what the mood is of the day, what’s the buzz? What are people talking about?
After the event
It goes without saying, follow up with all conversations asap. But also, maybe use the train ride home to jot down what you felt you got from the event. Have you had some really useful conversations? Have you been inspired to make some positive changes for your business? When the event comes around again you need to be able to say what the ROI was from you attending, and that doesn’t always have to be leads in the funnel. If you personally have got a lot out of attending the event that will in turn benefit your business, then it was a great investment.
Yes, this blog makes it seem like there’s loads to think about when it comes to events. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember the four golden rules:
Have a plan
Wear comfortable shoes
Go to ‘How to set up a share scheme in under a week’ with Ifty Nasir at 13:00 on Wednesday and 11:15 on Thursday in Seminar Hall 3.
Reserve your free 1:1 clinic on how to set up your share scheme by emailing email@example.com